Considering its tradition and complex history that dates back to 600 BC when it was founded by Greek mariners, Marseille is a top destination for tourists from all over the world. It is the second largest city in France and the largest one on the Mediterranean. The city is the mixture of various nationalities since the people living there have different ethnic backgrounds considering the fact that a lot of Italians and Spanish having immigrated there after the Second World War. Tourists are attracted by its markets, sea, old harbor and the Panier area, which is the oldest part of the city.
Warnings & Dangers in Marseille
OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM
The police is doing its best to protect both the citizens and tourists in Marseille, and it is highly-effective, but tourists still might be a target for pickpockets on the city’s streets. It is a safe city with certain parts to be avoided. Street crime is very frequent, so keep an eye on your passport, credit cards and other valuables and carry your bag across your body rather than on your shoulder.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM
Public transport might be risky in Marseille. Motorway journeys are usually trouble-free, but when the parking is in question, always park your car in a public area with lights. Using mobile phones with headsets or ear pieces when driving is forbidden. France is often disrupted by strikes which can affect the transport. Tourists should be careful of rogue taxi drivers who raise the price during the ride.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM
Pickpocket-related risk in the center of Marseille is common and pickpockets usually work in gang. While you are distracted by one of them, the other gets your bag. Restaurants and bars are also common places where thieves operate.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : LOW
When natural hazards are in question, the risk is low in Marseille, as well as in the whole France. There might be some avalanche risks in the Alps and some forest fires during the summer months, especially along the Mediterranean coast. Tourists need to follow the advice of French Authorities in case they need to evacuate areas and close roads for safety reasons.
MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM
The chances of being mugged or kidnapped in Marseille are medium, since some dangerous areas need to be avoided, especially at night. There have been reports about several victims of serious assault on the RER line B and on RER line D, which serves the Stade de France.
TERRORISM RISK : HIGH
The possibility of the terrorist attack in Marseille and the whole France exists and the risk is very high, due to ongoing threats to France by Islamist terrorist groups. Tourists need to be watchful in public and follow the advice of local French authorities. Bear in mind that there have been a number of high profile terrorist attacks in France.
SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM
Common scams used to obtain money from tourists are fake petitions, 3 card trick and gold ring tricks. As in any other big city, thieves will do everything to try to fool you in order to rob you. Scammers usually operate on the Paris underground and RER lines.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
Even though it is believed that Marseille is generally very safe for women travelers, women should remain vigilant as in any other large city in the world. France is one of the most visited tourist destinations on the planet and a safe country for travel. Women traveling solo will not have any trouble getting around France by train, bus or rental car. However, there is always a possibility that young men, that are not respectful, harass a woman traveling alone.
So... How Safe Is Marseille Really?
Marseille is the city that is worth visiting no matter how dangerous it might be. If you are an experienced traveller and a vigilant person, you do not need to worry about your safety when coming here.
The good thing is that muggings and pickpockets have decreased in the city center recently, and police forces are effective in fighting against criminals. However, you should avoid carrying valuables and watch your surroundings. Also, avoid the area around Boulevard Michelet due to the large number of prostitutes.
- Visas - As in many other European countries, visas are not required for stays under 90 days, and the EU nationals can stay and work in the country as long as they want. Tourists should make sure that their passport and other travel documents meet the requirements of the country they are visiting and that their passport is valid during their stay. For stays of longer than 3 months, you will need to contact the French Embassy for information about entry requirements.
- Currency - The official currency in France is the Euro since it is a member of the Euro Zone. When it comes to the necessary budget, tourist should know that France is a particularly expensive country and that they will need at least 100€ per day including accommodation. Cash machines and ATMs can be found everywhere and credit cards are widely accepted.
- Weather - The climate in France is temperate, which allows the tourists to visit major cities during the whole year year-long, even though the best experience is around summer. The only unexpected weather condition that might destroy your visit is the fierce wind that comes down to the city during certain parts of the year and can be very strong.
- Airports - Some of the main international airports which can be used when coming to Marseille are Aéroport de Charles de Gaulle, Paris Orly, Aéroport de Bordeaux, Aéroport de Lille, Aéroport International Strasbourg, Aéroport Lyon-St Exupéry, Aéroport Marseille-Provence, Aéroport Nantes Atlantique, Aéroport Nice Côte d’Azur and Aéroport Toulouse-Blagnac. Marseille-Provence International Airport, located about 30km from Marseille, offers flights to other European cities.
- Travel Insurance - A travel insurance policy is always advised to travelers, in case of some unexpected issues. Wherever you go, the costs of emergency medical help might cost you fortune, and that is when the travel insurance gets its value. It should cover not only medical problems, but also theft and loss of personal possessions.